By Nina TorskaTue. 30 Apr. 20243min Read

Our Favourite The Plague Quotes

In this blog, we will delve into key quotes from "The Plague," exploring Camus's insights on human endurance and morality.
Our Favourite The Plague Quotes

In Albert Camus's "The Plague," I am captivated by the profound exploration of human resilience and ethical responsibility in the face of catastrophic events.

This novel, a parable of human tenacity against the backdrop of existential dread, offers a deep philosophical meditation on community, isolation, and the indomitable human spirit.

"Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; there have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise." — Dr. Rieux

This quote sets the stage for the novel’s exploration of human surprise and unpreparedness in the face of disaster, which Camus uses to highlight our collective denial and short memory.

"The only way to fight the plague is with decency." — Dr. Rieux

Dr. Rieux’s assertion defines the moral framework of the novel—decency as a response to suffering. This simplicity in his approach contrasts with the complexity of human emotions and societal breakdown around him.

"I have no idea what's awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing." — Dr. Rieux

Here, Dr. Rieux’s commitment to his duty as a physician highlights his pragmatic approach to the plague, focusing on the immediate needs rather than the overwhelming dread of the unknown.

"One gets tired of pity when pity is useless." — Tarrou

Tarrou’s cynicism about pity reflects the exhausting and often futile nature of empathy in overwhelming crises, questioning the impact of individual compassion in the face of collective suffering.

"The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding." — Dr. Rieux

This philosophical insight from Dr. Rieux addresses the complexity of good and evil, suggesting that ignorance can be as destructive as intentional malevolence, emphasizing the need for informed action.

"What's true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well. It helps men to rise above themselves." — Dr. Rieux

Dr. Rieux observes that calamities can bring out extraordinary responses in ordinary people, driving them to transcend their usual limitations and act with unexpected heroism.

"There is more to admire in men than to despise." — Dr. Rieux

Despite witnessing the worst of human behavior, Dr. Rieux concludes that there is inherent good in humanity, a hopeful perspective that balances the bleakness of the novel’s events.

"If there is one thing one can always yearn for and sometimes attain, it is human love." — Dr. Rieux

This reflection underscores the central role of human connection and love as solace and motivation in the darkest times, emphasizing their value in human survival and resilience.

"All I maintain is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims, and it's up to us, so far as possible, not to join forces with the pestilences." — Dr. Rieux

This declaration encapsulates the ethical stance of the novel, urging an active choice against becoming complicit in evil, whether through action or indifference.

"He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good..." — Narrator

The novel’s closing remark serves as a somber reminder of the perpetual threat of disease and disaster, metaphorically suggesting the ever-present potential for human suffering and moral test.

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